Five Step Guide: How Does Intestate Succession Work?

If you die without ever creating a will, your estate is then divided up according to a set of default rules called “the intestate statutes.” Intestate is a just a jargon-y word that literally means you don’t have a will, and these make rigid yet common-sensical assumptions about how you would have handled your estate if you did create will.

Because all inheritances are a matter of a state law, there is no uniform rule for determining how an estate will be distributed. Despite this, there is a six-step general rule that is the intestate law in over 40 states, and I’ll walk you through the six step process that is a worthwhile template for how most states handle the death of an individual without a will.

Step 1. Is there a surviving spouse, child, grandchild, great-grandchild, or any descendant thereafter?

If yes, you may stop the inquiry here. If … Read the rest of this article!